Having a fantastic day in New York City doesn’t have to break the bank, if you know some insider secrets.
Step 1: Start with breakfast Start your day right, with a New York City bagel. Grab one and a cup of coffee from any deli or street vendor for about $2.50.
TIP: To sound like a native, order yours with a 'shmear' of cream cheese.
Step 2: Get a Metro card Get a Metro card. As of spring 2008, a one-day unlimited pass for the public transportation system will be $7.50. It allows you to take as many subway or bus rides as you like at a fraction of the cost of a tour bus.
Step 3: See free landmarks Check out gorgeous free landmarks like Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and the Chrysler Building.
TIP: Grand Central Station and the Public Library offer free tours.
Step 4: Take the Staten Island Ferry Take the Staten Island Ferry; it’s how 70,000 New Yorkers commute to work every day. You’ll have excellent views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan—and, unlike tourist boats that roam the Manhattan shores, it’s completely free!
Step 5: Head to Central Park Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, head for Central Park for a picnic. A hot dog, piece of fruit, and drink will only cost you about $5, and a Central Park Conservancy walking tour is free.
TIP: Make your way to the Central Park Boathouse where, right next to the pricey, lake-view restaurant there’s a huge rock that’s perfect for sunbathing and watching the expensive gondola rides.
Step 6: Be a kid again Be a kid again, with or without little ones of your own, with a trip to famed toy store F.A.O. Schwarz, where Tom Hanks famously played a tune with his feet in the film Big.
Step 7: Head to Little Italy Head to Little Italy, just north of Chinatown. Each neighborhood has its own distinctive flair, and they’re both great places to buy souvenirs. If you’ve got an extra few dollars, spring for an Italian gelato or a red-bean ice cream.
TIP: Head to a bookstore and leaf through a local weekly magazine’s listings to find loads of free readings, tours, festivals, and even films or concerts.
Step 8: Stay downtown for dinner The East Village and Lower East Side are great neighborhoods for great, cheap eats. You easily can keep the price of a delicious, filling restaurant meal down to $20, especially if you find a place marked BYOB – Bring Your Own Booze.
Step 9: Visit Times Square If you’re still standing, visit Times Square after dark. Just strolling around looking at all the neon should be entertainment enough.
FACT: In 2006, international and domestic tourists combined spent $24.71 billion dollars while visiting New York City.